Alex Godbout and Marguerite Bouchard in a scene from 'Slut in a Good Way'

Alex Godbout and Marguerite Bouchard in a scene from 'Slut in a Good Way'

There are plenty of films out there featuring male promiscuity filled with guys high-fiving each other after every sexual conquest. Men who sleep around are labeled “studs” as if it’s a badge of honor while liberated women are frowned upon and labeled “sluts.” It’s time to kick those double standards to the curb once and for all. Not all females are looking for romance as evident in the new film from Quebecois filmmaker Sophie Lorain. Written by Catherine Léger, the film focuses on three teenage girls who decide to go against the establishment by exploring their sexuality in an assertive manner labeling themselves “sluts in a good way.”

The film opens in an adult novelty shop as 17-year old Charlotte (Marguerite Bouchard) searches for a sexy bustier to turn on her boyfriend Samuel while best friends Mégane (Romane Denis) and Aube (Rose Adam) play around with the sex toys. Mégane, the group's opinionated “expert” remarks that Charlotte shouldn’t have to dress up to get Samuel turned on but Charlotte is only trying to find an outfit that matches the one she saw in porn that her boyfriend was watching. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the outfit that aroused Samuel, it was the guy in the porno. Yes, Samuel is gay.

Devastated by the revelation and breakup, Charlotte and her two besties head to the local Toy Depot, a massive toy store that resembles Costco, to change the mood and have some fun. Mégane suggests to Charlotte that she should sleep with some straight guys to get her mind off Samuel. They notice that most of the toy store’s employees are hot young college guys, so the girls have an epiphany. Get jobs at the Toy Depot!

Sophie Lorain’s black and white film with its young cast will automatically draw comparisons to Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” but better comparisons would be “The Last American Virgin” or “Porky’s” adjusted to a female perspective. Charlotte takes agency over her sexuality and begins slowly flirting back with ladies’ man Francis (Anthony Therrien), who would be labeled a slut if he was a woman. They sleep together and she begins hooking up with some of the other guys. Of course, we live in a society where slut-shaming is a constant variable so there are repercussions for Charlotte’s behavior. Guillaume (Alex Godbout) is the only guy who doesn’t try to sleep with her and the two become close friends but problems arise with their friendship when the shizz hits the fan and the film heads for “Lysistrata” territory.

“Slut in a Good Way” leans more towards drama than comedy. You can tell this is not an American film because the teenagers aren’t constantly obsessed with their looks or cell phones. In fact, in one scene Charlotte scrambles to find her phone as it goes off. If you took all the cell phones out of Bo Burnham’s wonderful film “Eighth Grade” it would look unrealistic, and that cast was in middle school!

Lorain’s film delivers a message of female empowerment without taking itself too seriously. The lack of snapchat and a deafening pop music soundtrack makes it seem a bit nostalgic, but also refreshing. I also enjoyed the Maria Callas interludes from “Carmen” that interconnect with Charlotte’s undertaking. I don’t know what it is but there’s something enjoyable about seeing the cast dance together at the end of the movie. “Slut in a Good Way” follows the same tradition as “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Get Over It,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Grease,” and “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

(3 stars)

Opens today at Alamo Drafthouse LaCenterra in Houston. The film is also playing in Austin at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.

Joe Friar is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society.  He co-founded the Victoria Film Society and reviews films for Hit Radio 104.7 and the Victoria Advocate.

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Joe Friar is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society. He co-founded the Victoria Film Society and reviews films for Hit Radio 104.7 and the Victoria Advocate."

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